Bitcoin advances in tentative comeback as haven asset

The largest cryptocurrency rose 4.3% to $43 453 at 10:50 a.m. in London, gaining along with other major digital tokens.
Image: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg

Bitcoin advanced amid mounting signs that the war in Ukraine is bolstering demand for cryptocurrencies.

The largest cryptocurrency rose 4.3% to $43 453 at 10:50 a.m. in London, gaining along with other major digital tokens. A fresh wave of turbulence hit global markets on Tuesday as the conflict in Ukraine intensified amid mounting penalties against Russia, as stocks in Europe fell along with US equity futures.

Bitcoin’s outperformance amid the volatility has some bulls pointing to a break from the narrative that crypto is just another risk asset. Adam Farthing, chief risk officer for Japan at crypto trading firm B2C2, said Bitcoin could “de-link from risk” and start trading more like a hedge to geopolitical instability and inflation.

“Bitcoin saw a significant upward move today as it appears to have slightly regained its safe haven status while the Russia-Ukraine conflict continues to intensify,” said Walid Koudmani, an analyst at XTB Market.

Trading volumes in Bitcoin using the ruble have surged to the highest level since May, suggesting Russians are potentially moving their money into crypto as the ruble plunges to a record low.

While still elevated at 0.55, Bitcoin’s correlation with the S&P 500 has come off after surpassing 0.7 earlier this year, data compiled by Bloomberg show. A correlation of 1 means two assets move perfectly in tandem, while a zero correlation displays their fluctuations are wholly independent.

“While it remains to be seen if this move will continue, it certainly seems to have changed the sentiment around Bitcoin for the time being and could spark renewed interest in cryptocurrencies as markets attempt to recover from this extreme uncertainty brought by the conflict,” Koudmani said.

© 2022 Bloomberg

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